- Accept that you have persistent pain & move on
- Get Involved - Building a support team
- Pacing. Learn to pace yourself
- Learn to prioritise and plan out your days
- Setting Goals and Action Plans
- Being patient with yourself
- Learn relaxation skills & keep relaxed
- Keeping fit. Stretching & Exercise
- Keep a diary and track your progress
- Have a set-back plan to fall back on
- Team Work. Get involved with others
- Keeping it up. Put into practise tools, 1-11
Available in French, German
Italian & more
The Pain Toolkit is also available in French, German & Italian and many more languages. They can be downloaded by clicking here.
The persistent pain cycle
Do you feel trapped in a persistent pain cycle? If so, ask yourself these three key questions:
- Do you do more on good days and less on bad days?
- Are you an over achiever - doing more than you have to?
- Are you a people pleaser?
- Do you have a problem saying NO when when you are asked to do things?
Could you see yourself in the persistent pain cycle and did you recognise yourself in the three questions above? If you did, then this Pain Toolkit could be for you, so please read on:
An introduction to pain management
Persistent pain, sometimes called chronic or long term.
This is pain that continues for 3 months or more and may not respond to standard medical treatment. It can be disabling and frustrating for many people to manage. It can also affect relationships with family, friends and work colleagues.
Sometimes people with persistent pain are told by healthcare professionals after assessment "I am afraid you have a chronic or long term pain problem. You will have to learn to live with it."
To date, your healthcare professionals may have done all that they can to help you and may have used many of the tools available in their toolkit. However there are so many things that you can do to help self-manage your pain with the support of your health care professional, family, friends and work colleagues. All you need is to be willing to ask for help.
Have you become a 'can't do' person?
A can't do person is someone who has tried to carry out or take part in everyday tasks such as going to work, doing the house work, gardening, playing a sport, taking holidays, going to the cinema, eating out or taking part in family activities but has stopped or given them up because of their pain. When this happens it is usual for your confidence levels to reduce.
Is this ringing any bells? If you have reached this point you need to STOP and take action!
By taking on board and practising the tools in the self care toolkit you could become a 'can do' person again but it could take time so please be patient with yourself.
So, is persistent pain a problem in the UK?
The short answer is yes, so you are not on your own. Here are some alarming facts from the Chronic Pain Policy Coalition - www.paincoalition.org.uk
Persistent pain affects 7.8 million people of all ages in every parliamentary constituency of the UK. 70% or people with persistent pain are under 60 years old.
Why do I need to manage my pain? After all I see my health care professional and aren't the supposed to do that for me?
Many people with persistent pain see their health care professional for treatment, help and support. But have you actually estimated just how many hours during the course of a year you spend with your health care professional?
It has been said that people with health conditions (including pain) may spend less than 3 hours a year on average in contact with a health care professional. For the remaining 8733 hours of the year they are on their own. So the need to learn pain management skills and incorporate them in everyday activities is very important.
So, as you can see, the need to become more involved in your own pain self-management is both necessary and important. It is certainly not all up to your doctor or health care professional to manage your pain. You have to play a vital part as well - it is all about teamwork.
Your next question may be "well how can I become more involved and how do I get started?" Using different skills and tools can be helpful. It is like a motor mechanic who has many tools in his/her toolbox to repair and maintain cars. People with pain also need a selection of tools to help them successfully self-manage it.
You may not need to use all the tools suggested in the toolkit, but like any good motor mechanic it is best to have a variety of tools at the ready to use when and if they are needed.
Self-managing persistent pain is not as hard as you may think - so lets get started and look at the very first tool in your new pain self-management toolkit.